Police Charge Man With Killing His Mother And Uncle In Attack Allegedly Witnessed On Zoom Call

Screenshot/Fox LA

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A man who allegedly killed his mother and uncle in an attack captured on a Zoom call was charged with their murders, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Robert Anderson Cotton, 33, was charged with two counts of murder with an allegation of using a knife as a deadly and dangerous weapon, the attorney’s office said in a statement.

Police responded to a home in Alta Dena at 2:45 p.m. on March 22 after a report of a possible kidnapping in progress, a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department statement said. 

An individual on a Zoom call had allegedly witnessed an attack on a man and woman while on the call with the female victim. The 911 caller reportedly heard commotion coming from the man being dragged out of the home and then being stabbed, according to Fox 11’s Bill Melugin.

“The person on the Zoom call is the one that called 911 … stating they saw what they believed was a kidnapping,” Lt. Barry Hall of the department’s Homicide Division said, according to NBC Los Angeles’s previous report.

When police arrived, they found a deceased man in the driveway of the home and a deceased woman inside the home, according to the sheriff’s department. Hall said the victims were apparently stabbed to death, NBC Los Angeles reported. (RELATED: Seven-Year-Old’s Sexual Assault Live-Streamed During Break From Online Class)

The two victims are Carol Brown, 67, and Kenneth Preston, 69, according to the attorney’s office statement. Cotton allegedly killed them at the house they all shared.

“This is a horrific case in which the mother’s work colleagues witnessed part of the attack while on a Zoom call and called the authorities,” District Attorney George Gascón said, according to his office’s statement. “Unfortunately by the time police arrived they discovered both victims.”

Investigators discovered a vehicle was missing from the residence, and during the investigation a man returned to the home driving one of the victim’s vehicles, according to the sheriff’s office statement. The man said he was a resident of the home.

Hall explained what investigators believe happened at the crime scene. 

“The male was inside the house,” Hall said, according to NBC Los Angeles. “The lady was still talking on the Zoom when the male was dragged out of the house. That alerted her. Then, the suspect went inside and attacked her.”

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include the charges against the suspect, which were announced later.